And He gave them their request, But sent leanness into their soul.
My heart shuddered as I read this verse from Psalms 106, the other day. One of my earnest prayers in life is that there should never be a day in my life without the presence of God. I always pray that, no matter what happens in life, I should never go back to a spiritual emptiness…where I feel lonely and without help. This Psalm is a striking reminder of how the Israelites were wonderfully saved from the bondage of Egypt. It also gives us a glimpse of the rebellion of His people against God. This psalm portrays a list of things that we should never do and one among them is the subject for today’s devotion.I would encourage you to read Psalms 106 and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal all the other things that believers should cease doing from the example of the Israelites.
We read in the verse 14 that, “In the desert they gave in to their craving; in the wasteland they put God to the test“. What did they crave in the desert? Numbers 11:5-7 says, Now the mixed multitude who were among them yielded to intense craving; so the children of Israel also wept again and said: “Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our whole being is dried up; there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes!”
They were bored with the heavenly provision and they craved for the things they enjoyed in the bondage. They were sick of eating manna..they were tired of picking it up every morning. Suddenly, the sweet smell of lemon, the crunchiness of the cucumbers, the liquorish flavour of the leek and the pungent aroma of the garlic aroused thier taste buds and created a craving desire in their minds. It was fun to taste the variety of life, though they were in slavery. Suddenly the bondage of Egypt became more desirable than the wilderness and the future promise of the promised land. They had the rare opportunity to feast on the heavenly menu..but their carnal desires longed for something more. They murmured against God and questioned Moses about it. God was furious about their reaction. God gave them what they requested, but they had to pay a price for that. But He sent leanness into their souls(Some translations call this wasting disease… Numbers 11:33).
When our carnal desires are more than our spiritual thirst, we see the presence of God decreasing in our lives. Thats because we read in the bible that For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.(Galatians 5:17). When you worry too much about the earthly things, there is a tendency that we lean more to it than towards God…we may not realise it fully. We may be doing everything in your relationship with God …meditating, praying, and working for Lord. But the desire becomes a replacement for the provisions of God. How often we take granted the heavenly supplies in our lives and long for something that may not be a perfect fit for our current life. I read somewhere that Manna was the best food for the Israelites in the desert. Manna was light and healthy..suitable for their wilderness life. Cucumber, melon, fish and garlic would not have nutritionally helped them in their long desert journey. But they longed for that…
We too ask for things, thinking that it is essential for our current life. We forget that our Saviour knows the best, yet we crave for that special thing we lack. At that time, nothing else seems better enough. Our God might grant us our prayer request, but beware of the spiritual leanness that comes with it. What is the sole purpose of receiving something from the Lord, if it brings leanness to our souls and thereby discourage our heavenly Father. God’s kingdom is within us and any decrease in that means, the world has grown more in us.
It is ok to ask for our daily bread, but that should not be our only prayer..our main aim is to pray that His Kingdom come, His will be done, in earth as it is in heaven. Our God definitely acknowledges our persistence in prayer, but He is pleased in our requests that are according to His will. So next time when you pray, ask God to fulfill your desires, only if it is His perfect will. And pray that nothing in this world should bring a spiritual famine to you….a leanness in your soul. That is why Satan puts certain desires more in our lives..so that we will end up in a spiritual emptiness and when that happens, he wins. Let us examine our desires even before we pray and ask God to help us grow more in Him.